Saturday, December 11, 2004

Seeing, Touching, and Affecting the World

In response to Smartmom's post: Of Polaroids and Lasting Friendship, Risa Mickenberg, a friend of Jamie Livingston's, e-mailed Smartmom something she had written soon after Jamie's death. Thank you Risa for sharing this stirring tribute.

For those waiting with bated breath for the Polaroid-of-the-Day website to go live -- you're gonna have to wait a little longer. Hepcat's computer hard drive crashed the day before Thanksgiving. The pretty good news: Drive Savers, a hard drive retrieval service in California was able to recover a little more than half of what was on it, including some of the PODs. In exchange for two thousand bucks, Hepcat got his hard drive back yesterday. And so begins the process of figuring out what's left and re-shooting the PODs that weren't recovered.

A Still Moment From Every Day

It's strange for someone to leave behind a record of every day of their life. Or to obsessively follow a project whose only perfect completion ends with their death.

Our work is always ahead of us. It starts when we are born and it ends when we die - this work of seeing, touching and affecting the world.

Jamie spread this collection out every year and examined it - reviewed it.

Our lives are a flood of images and we are collectors who keep a strange assortment of images: moments of extreme emotion, pain, beauty, and fear stand out. Events we're taught to remember: weddings, graduations, births, deaths.

Then there are the millions of images that we can't shake out of our heads, that come to us at strange times - things we can't remember why we remember: the gold threads in an old stereo speaker, the way the light hit a thousand cars in a parking lot by the water, the face of a stranger in a restaurant, a friend standing in a pool - you can't remember where, slapping the water with the flat of her hand.

Memory is a sieve that holds curious things. A life is a trail of strange, colorful memories.

Jamie's Photo-of-the-Day works like a life. A still moment from every day for years. Remains of the day, immortalized. It is a selection: what we choose to remember, what we add to our collection of days.

There was no set time of day. It was when the mood struck: this is what I will take.

It's an accumulation, a collection, a life's work.


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